Sunday, February 10, 2008

Just Doing It

I had as many aspirations and dreams as the next person, but since leaving my workaholic life in Media, I've been surprisingly content to just live in the moment most days. All of my (former) life, I'd been programmed to strive for success, recognition, praise... Even today, I get visits from Ambition at times and I'll think "when I'm in Mexico, I'll get around to writing all those screenplays in my head" or "I really should start that novel." I think it comes from guilt. It's the Super Productive Japanese in me that feels bad about just doing what makes me happy, at that moment.

I'm definitely still on my spiritual journey, still learning. When you can live in the moment, there is so much peace there. Past accomplishments are really meaningless -- they are PAST accomplishments, for crying out loud -- and who knows what the future brings, so thinking too much about it just makes one anxious. Still, old habits are hard to break.

"Just Do It!" is just a catchy motto to sell more sports gear, but it's become a mantra for many. We want to believe in positive thinking, that we can achieve our goals, that if we work hard enough, we can do anything. We never stop to think, "And?" Does any of it make us "better"? And better than what? Better than that bum on the street? Better than the dogs and horses? Better than the sun, the wind, the ocean, the trees? (You see, my spiritual journey has allowed me to be less anthropocentric. If that's a real word. But you know what I mean.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Bad Dog,
Seems to me you are making real progress toward being able to define your own goals after your previous life of running around like a puppy trying to please your masters. It seems to outsiders looking in that Japanese society applies a lot of conformist pressure. Though those that do break out can do so in spectacular fashion. I am Australian, and we have much more relaxed attitudes mainly. To amuse a friend, who you know I think, I wrote a short essay on "Going Troppo". I will paste it in to give you a benchmark, something to aim at for a guilt free relaxed lifestye.

Gone Troppo

Being brought up in the cold climes on the wrong side of lattitude 50 N, I had no idea of tropical heat. Its sweaty days and balmy nights. Its warm welcoming seas and scantily clad girls. They were dreams, just dreams. So I had never heard the term 'going troppo' till I came to Australia.
I first heard the term in Victoria, my first port of call and it seemed to mean 'to degenerate into a slovenly and slothful lifestyle'. Someone might say with a sad shake of the head, "Brian went north, all the way to Cairns, and now the poor bugger's gone troppo". A terrible state of affairs, a terminal condition, another good soul lost to the human race. It was not related to the season prevailing, but was a permanent state of a dissolute life. A sort of contagious disease brought about by insufficient air-conditioning.
When I finally went north into the tropics, I heard 'going troppo' more often related to the build-up of the wet season with tempretures enough to blister paint, combined with humidity to make a frog smile. So up here it is a seasonal thing where a perfectly normal person in the 'dry', the winter, turns into a snarly unpredictable lunatic with the coming of some hot weather.
Sorry, I dont buy it. Either version of 'going troppo'.
The Victorian version of 'going troppo', tells me more about the uptight city dwellers than our relaxed residents of the north. So he/she left a perfectly good 18hr a day executive position in advertising to wear a sorong, go barefoot, spend time with the kids and walk on the beach! How crazy is that!
The local version of 'going troppo' doesn't bear close scrutiny either. I never heard the term in the hottest parts of Oz where I worked doing mineral exploration. Outragously hot just about the year round, but they just got on with the job. I worked a week on shadeless salt lakes where every day was over 50C. Nobody mentioned 'going troppo'. No, it was just "bit hot eh? But should have been here last week. Was hotter then". Always hotter last week.
So 'going troppo' is all a myth. So why does it persist? It is just a useful excuse. To explain slovenly behavior as something inevitable and beyond human control. To be able to relax into the languid sloth of hammock and cold beer with a clear conscience. To put off hard work and tedious jobs as cruel and unusual punishment. To have the rationale of consuming huge quantities of beer 'to replace the fluids'. To begin to think that play is more important than work. A counterbalance to the grim puritan work ethic.
But dont tell anybody about this will you? I mean if word gets round that its just a cover for having a good time, we'll all be in the barb wire canoe up a well known creek. Even worse, all those down south will be heading up here for their fair share of 'going troppo'. Then who would be doing all the hard work to support the economy? It'll be damn hard to get some elbow room at the bar too. So you see how it is all our interests to propagate the myth of 'going troppo' as a deadly affliction like malaria or yellow fever that kept most foreigners out of central Africa. Try this line..."Poor Stuart was a corporate consultant, a go-getter, a workaholic. Now look at the poor sod after going troppo. Barely able to muster the energy to go fishing, stir the barbie, or sink a few beers." Keep it under your hat mate.

Cheers, Paul

9:49 PM  
Blogger bad-dog said...

Thanks for that, Paul!
We should take the term "gone troppo" back. It SHOULD mean being able to work in 50 degree heat, 90 percent humidity, with just a "bit hot, eh?"

It makes me think of the word "iikagen" in Japanese...

7:53 AM  

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